In letters sent from IRS offices in Cincinnati earlier this month, chapters including the Waco (Texas) Tea Party and the Ohio Liberty Council were asked to provide a list of donors, identify volunteers, financial support for and relationships with political candidates and parties, and even printed copies of their Facebook pages.Erin Ryan told me today that the letter came after the IRS has "stalled us for two years." She said the group has been trying to work through Rep. Wally Herger's office but has gotten nowhere.
"Some of what they (the IRS) asked was reasonable, but there were some requests on there that were strange," Toby Marie Walker, president of the Waco Tea Party told FoxNews.com. "It makes you wonder if they do this to groups like ACORN or other left-leaning groups.”
Read the complete letter sent to the Waco Tea Party by the IRS
The chapters that received requests were registering for nonprofit status as a 501(c)4 organizations. The classification mainly differs from 501(c)3 groups in that donors cannot deduct their contributions from their taxable income. [...]
Tea Party leaders say they were particularly offended by demands that they name donors and volunteers, which is required by law, but were also asked to list any political ambitions of board members or their relatives.
Colleen Owens, a Virginia-based Tea Party activist,claims that her chapter had a similar letter sent to them just two weeks before they were to hold a local convention in which they were asked to provide nearly 500 pages in documents.
They were required to return the requested documents two days before the start of the convention.
"Most of these groups are not wealthy and they've had their applications for 501(c)4 status since 2010," Owens said. "We only had two weeks to gather everything. The timing was suspicious."
"The list of requirements will require the evaluation from my kindergarten teacher," she told me in an e-mail.
Glenn Beck had a lengthy segment on this on his online TV program last night, basically saying that this amounted to using the power of government to silence and intimidate critics. He pointed out -- correctly -- that no such letters have been sent out to the Occupy movement despite the heavy sums it receives from George Soros front groups.
Chicago-style thug politics at its finest, I guess.